Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is bringing a candidate training workshop to Des Moines on Monday, July 12, Kathie Obradovich reported on her Des Moines Register blog today. Gingrich's organization American Solutions is running the workshop, and that group's CEO Joe Gaylord will accompany Gingrich on the trip. According to a press release, Gaylord has written a campaign manual geared toward "candidates at all levels, from local to Congressional, and for everyone in the campaign, from the candidate to the press secretary. Each chapter of Campaign Solutions starts with how-to advice, and ends with what-not-to-do warnings and how-did-you-do scorecards." Gingrich and Gaylord are also "distributing a weekly podcast to candidates similar to the GOPAC education tapes that helped prepare a generation of GOP candidates for the campaign trail."
I'm guessing Gingrich and Gaylord won't advise candidates to spend 15 percent of the money they raise on chartered private air travel, as American Solutions did in recent years.
Gingrich came to Iowa in late May to raise money for several Republican organizations. Teaching candidates how to run professional campaigns will generate more goodwill among Iowa politicians who could be helpful to Gingrich if he runs for president in 2012. Even if Gingrich doesn't seek the presidency, his influence over Iowa Republicans' policy agenda may increase. American Solutions runs an "online information portal" that "breaks down policy problems and presents solutions lawmakers can utilize to create jobs, improve education and expand American energy." Tax cuts that benefit corporations and wealthy individuals are the centerpiece of Gingrich's action plan.
I wonder if any reporters will ask Gingrich about the unethical practices American Solutions employs to raise money from the conservative grassroots. Mark Blumenthal of Pollster.com characterized a phone pitch I received last year as "a clear cut example of fundraising under the guise of a survey ('FRUGGing')". The Marketing Research Association considers FRUGGing unethical because
The use of a poll to conduct fund raising has raised the distrust of the public to a point where they refuse to cooperate with researchers trying to obtain the opinions of any number of issues, including political campaign, and government: federal, state and local research. In a country inundated with telemarketing and direct mail fund raising it is more and more difficult for marketing and opinion researchers to get accurate data.